The reception hall

The Sael is the reception room where merchant Jan Hartman would receive his guests. They were doubtless impressed by so much wealth, exactly what the master of the house would have intended.

Hartman originally came from the German town of Coesfeld and went from being a baker's apprentice to an accomplished businessman. His aim was to radiate prosperity and success. Although not actually a nobleman, he had the fireplace decorated with a family coat of arms from his wife and himself in order to emphasise his status.

The symmetry in the room's design is striking and an example of the Dutch classicist style. This style was extremely popular during the Golden Age. The symmetrical pattern on the floor is reflected in the nine coffers, or sunken panels, in the ceiling.

Everything in this room dates from the 17th century. However, it emerged during restoration work that the white plasterwork on the walls dated from a later period. This layer of plaster was carefully removed and what was left over subjected to careful investigation. The plasterwork has since been restored to the original colour familiar to Hartman: yellow with a hint of orange.